The doctrine of good faith and fair dealing is like the idea of fairness, is simple to expressive but hard to relate with accuracy. Most lawyers know the policy in the circumstance of personal property sales for the reason that the Uniform Commercial Code is clear on that issue. The principle is frequently murky though in regards to other matters. The principle is additionally clouded when courts and critics merge it with ideas such as disclosure, misrepresentation and fraud. Causes of action based on contract law join with those founded in tort. With the ensuing mess of conflicting legal principles, it is not unexpected that courts take a fact exact move toward deciding cases and, in doing so, often reach conflicting conclusions (Walsh, n.d.).
There have been two significant efforts to establish the connotation of good faith and to figure out what kind of conduct the duty commands. Most courts have depended upon one or both of these advances. The first approach is that of Professor Summers' Excluder Theory. Professor Summers stated that the notion of good faith lacks innate meaning. The lack of autonomous criterion to define good faith proposes that the idea is best understood as the opposite of bad faith performance. Summers made clear that a lawyer would more precisely comprehend the connotation of good faith if, when examining a case, the lawyer does not ask what good faith itself means, but rather asks in the definite or hypothetical circumstances, does the judge mean to rule out by his use of the expression. Once the bad faith behavior has been recognized and barred, the lawyer can assign the connotation of good faith as the conflicting of the proscribed behavior. Furthermore, Summers suggested that this advance improves the possibility that the lawyer's understanding of the notion is united with the judge's planned connotation. The foundation is that judges are more concerned in what they are forbidding than in distinguishing what is normally permissible (Walsh, n.d.).
The second approach is that of Professor Burton's Foregone Opportunities Theory. Professor Burton rejects Summer's thesis that good faith and fair dealing is unable of being precisely and entirely defined other than by utilizing the excluder theory. Burton argues that good faith performance necessitates a party to implement its optional contractual rights in such a way as not to try to recapture the chances it passed up in deciding to enter into the contract in the way that it did. Burton thinks that good faith issues regularly occur either because the articulate terms of the contract were incorrectly or vaguely written or because the parties carried out a long-term contract lasting into an vague future without sufficient foresight. Under those conditions, the articulated terms of the contract do not offer adequate leadership to establish whether the other party's implement of judgment comprises good faith performance (Walsh, n.d.).
Burton maintains that we must gain a better understanding of the contractual anticipation interest. He disputes that that interest should be examined not only in terms of predictable benefits accruing to the promisee, property, services or money, but also in terms of the probable cost owing from the promisor, the chances that it must unavoidably pass by entering into the contract. Burton's thesis advocates that by entering into a contract the parties create two equally restricted worlds, one that contains all possible contractual occasions within the parties' defensible prospects at the time the contract was carried out, and the other that contains all other current and future occasions that were inevitable when the parties entered into the contract. When the promisor uses an optional right, one must center on which world the promisor is attempting to access in order to found precisely if that judgment was carried out in good faith. If the promisor tries to capture a chance that is not in agreement with the terms of the contract it carried out, then the promisor has acted in good faith. On the other hand, if the promisor tries to regain one or more chances it gave up upon entering into the contract, the promisor can be said to have acted in bad faith by declining to pay the expected cost of feat (Walsh, n.d.).
The conventional function of the duty of good faith and fair dealing is a regulating instrument only to guard the parties' rational prospects and purposes that existed at the time they entered into the contract. The courts should use good faith and fair dealing to guard these prospects and intentions only in instances where the circumstances have changed radically such that one of the parties could implement its optional right to harm the other party based on a risk that the other party had not understood. Those are the kinds of cases in which most would agree that one party is not acting in good faith. One scholar has argued that, certainly, this is an optimal function of the duty of good faith and fair dealing. Where the parties do not presume the contractual conditions to alter, it is economically resourceful for them to remain silent and rely on a gap filling regulation like the duty of good faith and fair dealing to guard their contractual prospects. The parties can save the transactional expenses that they would otherwise use to recognize the diverse events that could occur and to discuss how they would decide them. For that reason, the duty of good faith and fair dealing should be cited by the courts to guard against one party taking gain of a striking change in conditions to the other party's harm where such achievement was not within either of the parties' rational anticipation when they fashioned the contract. This function of the duty of good faith and fair dealing stops the party who has an optional right from using it in an exorbitant manner. The foundation of an suitable and inexpensively competent purpose of good faith and fair dealing is to protect the parties' contractual outlooks (Walsh, n.d.).
A contemporary alternative of the application of good faith and fair dealing seems to be emerging in a manner that is different from these usual ideologies. Some courts are appealing to the duty to transfer risks ex-post despite the fact that the parties explicitly owed those risks in an exacting and dissimilar way in their contract. In doing this, these courts appear to be smudging the dangerous, although occasionally fine, difference between contract and tort principles. When understanding Section 205 of the Second Restatement, courts should be aware of the fact that it is a contractual policy and should not be utilized to justify some public policy or accomplish some social or moral goal (Walsh, n.d.).
Weigand, Tory a. (2004). The Duty of Good Faith and Fair Dealing in Commercial
Contracts in Massachusetts. Retrieved December 15, 2010, from Web site: